Europe braces for salmonella outbreak

Written by Martin Banks on 20 October 2017 in News

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has voiced concern at the new outbreak of salmonella across Europe.

The ECDC has voiced concern at the new outbreak of salmonella across Europe | Photo credit: Press Association

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) says the outbreak “is still not under control and continues to make people sick across Europe.”

The agency has issued a new report on the salmonella outbreak which originated in Poland.

It says, “While the outbreak hasn’t quite reached the proportions of last year, there have been more than 100 cases related to this outbreak reported since the start of July 2017, reaching a new peak in September.”

The ECDC says the countries affected in the latest wave are Belgium, France, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK. 

The report notes that because the UK is the only country performing comprehensive and routine testing, “the number of cases is most likely underestimated” and “it is likely that more countries are affected by the outbreak”. 

In Poland, there have been some 7677 cases of salmonella so far this year, and egg exports are down 21 per cent. The crisis was cited in a motion of no confidence against the Polish agriculture minister last week.

Since the previous ECDC epidemiological update was published on 30 June, seven EU/EEA countries (Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK) have reported 96 confirmed and 34 probable new cases associated with salmonella.

The report said, “The 2016 outbreak investigation identified eggs originating from three Polish packing centres as the vehicle of infection in this outbreak.

“Following the implementation of control measures in Poland in November 2016, the reporting of new cases fell sharply. However, since March, the number of newly reported cases has increased again, with a peak of 38 cases in May 2017 and a second peak of 46 cases in September 2017.”

The agency goes on to warn, “Due to reporting delays, additional cases are expected to be reported with onset in recent months.”

The report adds, “It should however be noted that the UK is the only country performing routine and close to comprehensive WGS-based typing of salmonella. Thus, the number of cases associated with this outbreak reported by other EU/EEA countries is most likely underestimated.

The agency says that the re-emergence of cases infected with the outbreak strains since March “is currently under investigation.”

The ECDPC reports, “It is likely that more countries are affected by the outbreak, but that they have not been detected.

Further investigations are required to identify the origin of the transmission to control this outbreak. The ECDC is continuing to monitor the occurrence of human cases associated with this threat.”


About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter for the Parliament Magazine


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